John Donegan 1926-2009

May 1, 2009 in General

We are sad to report the death of the cartoonist ‘‘Donegan.’’ John was born in London in 1926 and after many years in the advertising industry he became a freelance cartoonist in the early 1970s. By the time he retired in 1991 he had become one of Britain’s favourite cartoonists, featuring regularly in Punch magazine. Although he never actually owned a dog, some of his most recognised works were his books “Dog Help us” and “Dog Almighty”. He retired to France in 1991 and died in April after a battle with cancer, aged 83. He is survived by his wife, two children and three grandchildren.

UPDATED: 14th May 2009. Roy Greenslade notes the affectionate obituary published in The Independent

6 responses to John Donegan 1926-2009

  1. John was a master cartoonist-delightful,effortless draughtsmanship topped off with sublime, cutting wit.
    Consistently funny Punch contributor. Both sadly missed.

  2. Everything Pete said. John work represents something to aim for in terms of the well drawn funny gag. The ubiquitous Albert Rusling’s Chester Gallery features a lot of John’s work, including some of his timeless dog gags. Favourite is the one wherein the owner is telling a retriever that he’s not really his father.
    John’s jokes were at once urbane and sophisticated but managed at the same time to be very silly. Silly rules in cartooning.

  3. It was always a treat to see his cartoons with such wit. One of my favourites is the dog at the living room door, talking to the cat. The exact words escape me, but it’s like ‘Something small and furry by the fridge. Your department I believe.’ Lessons in brevity and style.

  4. Sorry to hear the sad news. Can only echo the above comments, he was a class act and admired by his colleagues. Thank goodness we can still chuckle at his lovely work in his ‘Dog books’ and various Punch collections.

  5. John’s cartoons were some of the funniest in Punch. Witty, sophisticated, slightly surreal, very, very silly. Meticulously framed in just the right space in his wonderfully urbane pencilled style. His characters always gave a good performance; their body language drawing out the middle class angst that underpinned most of his oeuvre. He’d have laughed at me saying ‘oeuvre’. His colour work was a joy, too. He will be sadly missed. I can never seem to draw a dog without thinking how he would have done it better.

  6. I’m an amateur writer; looking for cartoon type pictures for a book on dogs. Would you let me know how much it would cost to use them?

    Regards Fiona C

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